Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 96-61 home win over Winston-Salem State on Friday night in the Tar Heels’ lone public exhibition game.
- Let’s not bury the lede: Brandon Robinson’s ankle is the biggest question on everyone’s mind. With 12:19 left in first half, Robinson blocked a shot and the Winston-Salem State player rolled up on Robinson’s right ankle. Robinson never returned to the bench (which is not surprising given the typical caution shown in these situations in an exhibition). In his post-game press conference, Coach Williams said Robinson would have x-rays on Saturday morning.
- Add B-Rob to the litany of injuries. The 2019 Tar Heels should have depth and talent. But they are banged up right now. Entering tonight’s action Sterling Manley, Anthony Harris, Jeremiah Francis, and KJ Smith were already out of commission.
- Before his injury, Robinson played confidently and aggressively. He found his way to the free throw line for six shots in the first seven minutes of game time.
- Three rule changes to be aware of heading into the season:
- After an offensive rebound, the shot clock will reset to 20 seconds instead of a full 30.
- The three-point line moves from 20’ 9” to the International (and very specific) distance of 22’ 1 ¾” straightaway and 21’ 7/8” in the corners.
- Since the 2015-16 season, coaches had been disallowed from calling live-ball timeouts, but they will now be able to do so in the last two minutes of regulation and any overtime periods.
- Remember that with the ACC Network also comes a 20-game conference schedule. In order to help promote the new network, the powers that be decided that each team (except guess who) would start the season with a conference game and play another early in December (at Virginia for Carolina).
- Over the past three season, the Heels have ranked 1st, 3rd, and 1st nationally in rebound margin. Will this trend continue? Although it was against an overmatched opponent, Carolina out-rebounded Winston-Salem State by 23 (56-33). Returning to a traditional two big-man line-up should help. As should having strong rebounding guards like Leaky Black and Cole Anthony.
- We expend a lot of energy in the off-season wondering who will start. The answer (at least for Friday night), was what most people anticipated: Cole Anthony (1), Christian Keeling (2), Brandon Robinson (3), Garrison Brooks (4), Armando Bacot (5). Justin Pierce started in place of the injured Robinson in the second half.
- First off the bench were Andrew Platek, Justin Pierce, and Leaky Black after the first dead ball timeout.
- Carolina drew at least three charges, the first of which came from Cole Anthony. That’s the type of play that will continue to earn the trust and respect of teammates.
- An early playing time observation: Looks like Platek will get more playing time this year.
- With Seventh Woods’ departure to South Carolina, the back-up point guard minutes were up for grabs. Black played those minutes tonight and did well.
- Justin Pierce is a Tar Heel already – he missed a lay-up off a nice pass from Cole Anthony but still pointed to Anthony for the nice look. He didn’t miss this one though:
- Roy Williams, while plenty of upset about many aspects of the game, must be happy to have a two-big starting line-up again. Brooks and Bacot both registered double-doubles. Additionally, Brandon Huffman wasn’t far off, with eight each of points and rebounds…in just 11 minutes.
- Speaking of filling stats, Leaky Black and Cole Anthony are both on triple-double alert. Anthony finished with 11 points, five rebounds, seven assists, one block and four turnovers. Black had nine points, five rebounds, seven assists, one block, one steal, and one turnover.
- After being held scoreless in the first half, Christian Keeling exploded for 14 in the final 20 minutes.
Roy Williams postgame press conference:
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is the first game of the season (and the first conference game!) in the Smith Center against Notre Dame on Wednesday, November 6. Tip is at 7:00ET on ACC Network.
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